Friday, May 30, 2014

May 30, 2014

I survived a week of jury duty.  Thankfully it was a short week and I only had to go in two days, and I was not actually seated to serve on a jury for a trial.  It was a bit troublesome to plan for with the way my county does it, but all in all it was fairly painless, and now I am in the clear for 4 years!

In the world of cooking I learned a great tip this week.  Have you ever found yourself out of buttermilk when you are making pancakes, or cake, etc?  I stumbled across this tip in Cook's Illustrated: for every cup of buttermilk needed in a recipe, use milk and then add 1 1/2 tsp of Cream of Tartar per cup needed to the dry ingredients.  No off flavor because you've added vinegar to your pancakes and much easier and more likely to be on hand than a lemon to add to your milk!  We made pancakes one morning before school and I only had skim milk.  We tried this trick with fantastic results.  I will definitely do this again!

Over the long holiday weekend we found out that pizza dough works great for monkey bread.  I typically make a half recipe of our pizza dough each week, but this week I made the whole recipe.  Instead of freezing the extra portions, I used it for monkey bread the next morning (and of course thought of Molly the whole time!).  It worked fabulously well.

Speaking of pizza, the morning got away from me today and I didn't make my typical pizza dough in time for it to rest in the fridge for the minimal amount of time before using it.  We were still going to have pizza so I decided to try out some food processor recipes that we could use the same day.   I actually made two versions, and have included the keeper version here.  We didn't take a picture (it would just look like a ball of pizza dough), but the recipe is here if you want to try it.

There were two other keepers this week, homemade fish sticks and Spanish rice.  Not sure what I'll add to the meal plan for next week, but I still want to try out an oatmeal muffin recipe that's been out on my counter for a few days.

Happy Cooking!

New Recipes
Food Processor Pizza Dough
Panko Crusted Fish Sticks
Spanish Rice

Food Processor Pizza Dough


Ingredients
* 3/4 cup warm water (105-110 F), divided
* 1 package (7 g) active dry yeast
* 1 tsp sugar
* 500 g AP flour
* 1 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
* 1/2 tsp salt

Directions
1. Combine 1/4 cup of the warm water with the yeast and sugar.  Mix well, then let it sit for 5 minutes.
2. Set the remaining water aside.
3. Fit your food processor with the steel blade.  Process the flour, oil and salt for about 5 seconds, just until well combined.
4. Add the yeast mixture to the flour.  Process until blended, about 10 seconds.
5. Through the feed tube, very slowly drizzle the remaining water in until the dough forms a ball that clears the sides of the work bowl.  Once it has cleared the sides and gone around a few times, turn off the food processor and let the dough rest for 2-3 minutes.
6. Turn the processor back on.  If you have any remaining water, slowly drizzle that in, and let the dough turn in the work bowl approximately 10 times.
7. Remove the dough and place in a greased bowl.  Cover, and let the dough rise at least 1 hour, or as much as 3.
8. When you are ready, use this pizza dough as you would any other dough.  Divide it for individual pizzas, or roll it for family style pizzas.  This should be enough for 2 family sized pizzas, perhaps more depending on how thin you roll it.

Notes
I forgot to make our typical pizza dough they requires at least 6 hours in the fridge and then 1 hour out on the counter before you can use it.  I made this at 2 in the afternoon and we used it at 5.  And the dough was so easy to work with!!! You will definitely want to use a pizza stone with this recipe if you have one as I felt the crust did not brown as well as our usual recipe.  But it is now great to have a second pizza dough recipe I can use when time gets tight! 

Panko Crusted Fish Sticks


Ingredients
* 1 tbsp milk (I used skim)
* 2 large eggs, beaten
* 1+ lb tilapia cut into 1 inch thick strips
* 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
* 1/2 tsp kosher salt
* 1/2 tsp black pepper
* 2 tbsp canola oil, divided

Directions
1. Combine milk and eggs in  a large shallow bowl and stir with a whisk.  In another bowl, combine the panko, salt and breadcrumbs.
2. Heat 1 tbs of the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
3. Dip the fish in the egg mixture and then in the breadcrumbs to lightly coat.
4. Place the fish in the hot oil and cook for 4-5 minutes, turning occasionally to brown on all sides.   After the first batch is done, add the second tbsp of oil and cook the second half of the fish.
5. Serve with tartar or cocktail sauce if desired and enjoy!

Notes
The original recipe called for halibut and 2% milk, but I had tilapia and skim on hand so we went with those.  My kids loved these, and we adults thought they were good, too!  To keep the first batch of fish sticks warm while cooking the second batch I placed them on a cookie sheet topped with a cooling rack and put them in a 200 F oven.  This way I was able to serve them all at once without any of them getting cold, and using the rack keeps them from getting soggy.

Spanish Rice


Ingredients
* 2 tbsp vegetable oil
* 1.5 cups uncooked brown rice
* 1 onion, minced
* 3 cups water
* 1 (14.5 oz) can of petite diced tomatoes (see note)
* 1 tbsp chili powder
* 1.5 tsp salt

Directions
1. Heat the oil in a deep skillet over medium heat.  Saute the rice and onion until the onions are tender, about 7-8 minutes.
2. Stir in the remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and cover the pot.  Simmer (checking occasionally) for 45-55 minutes, or until the rice is to your liking.  The majority of the liquid should be absorbed.
3. Serve and enjoy!

Notes
We were having turkey tacos for dinner (using this taco seasoning) and I felt we needed a new side dish.  Sometimes we have black beans, but the kids were in the mood for rice.  I looked up a few Spanish rice recipes, but none fit my needs (and current pantry items).  Finally I decided to make up my own based on what I had seen in the various recipes, and lo and behold this was born.  I think what really makes it delicious was the Red Gold Petite Diced Tomatoes with Lime Juice and Cilantro.  I hadn't noticed that version of tomatoes before, but it was amazing in this rice dish.  Feel free to use whatever kind of diced tomatoes you have on hand (we are anxious to use homegrown later this summer!), but if you have to pick some up, look for these.  It was great!  If you are nervous about it being a little too spicy, feel free to cut out or cut back the chili powder; I think you will still have tasty results!